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Dec 07, 2004

Working with vendors to close more loansPamela St. Pierrevendors, success, tips The smooth sailing loan is a thing of beauty; when all is said and done, brokers look good, lenders look good, and borrowers get their money and tell all their friends. But we are all experienced enough to know that the seas are not always calm. When problems happen, brokers lose commission, lenders get cranky, vendors get the blame and borrowers, well, still tell their friends. As the head of a unit dedicated to making Mortgage Brokers look good, I have sailed the seas in all kinds of weather. After closing between 125 and 175 brokered loans a month, my unit has navigated these seas through all sorts of conditions. Here are a few ways to ride the waves without capsizing: 1. Cooperation is key. We look to the broker to assist us in making each loan work. They have to make sure that certain considerations, such as insurance and necessary payoffs, are taken care of. We work within a two- to three-day closing window, but if we have a broker who does not go out of their way to assist us, the buyer cannot close, and will ultimately tell their friends not to use that particular broker. 2. Know your lender. Each lender has their own unique criteria that must be met before the loan closes. Brokers who want their loans to close in a timely manner have to explain the product to their borrowers-interest rates, ways to obtain a better rate and what the loan amount will be are all of utmost importance. Here is a scenario that backfires every time: An overeager Mortgage Broker triumphantly tells the borrower, "No problem. We have your loan." What the broker neglects to share, however, is the full picture. At closing, the borrower will look at the interest rate and say, "There is no way I am going to pay this," signaling the end of closing and the beginning of a long day for all those involved. 3. Communicate to your borrower. Let us take ourselves back to the closing table. Nothing is more frustrating to the borrower than suddenly finding out that they have to adjourn because they did not bring the right paperwork to the closing table. Make sure borrowers are aware of everything they need to do before closing. Do not gloss over the details. Most borrowers today are educated. They do not like surprises and will not accept misinformation just because they are nearing the end of the process. The borrower will have no problem pulling out if the loan does not feel right. 4. Watch the details, even if it is near the end of the month. Brokers should never try to push loans through so that they can make their quotas. Details get lost in the "hurry-up-and-push" mode, and those loans never close. 5. Communicate with your vendor. As vendors, we strive to develop a good rapport with the brokers we deal with, but we cannot do that if they do not communicate with us. Suppose there is a question about a borrower's credit that the lender needs us to take care of. We need the Mortgage Broker to return our phone calls on this issue without procrastinating. We can understand that no one wants to hear about a touchy subject like credit history, but the sooner we know about an issue, the quicker we can get it resolved. Issues do not just go away. If they are not settled quickly, the buyer ends up being inconvenienced. It is also helpful if brokers tell us how they would like us to communicate with their clients. Do they mind if we call the borrower directly, or would they prefer that all information requests go through them? We can adapt to any situation, so long as brokers let us know what they prefer. 6. Know your product. What good brokers bring to their jobs is the ability to understand their mortgage products, and how these products meet the borrower's needs. Brokers need to honestly communicate this information to their borrowers, and inform them about rescission, how the loan funds and the conditions that the loan requires. There should be no surprises for borrowers as the loan moves forward. Good brokers know the difference between the products that lenders offer. A single lender may have a number of products, from full-closing cost products to no-closing cost products, and the best brokers understand their differences and explain them to their borrowers, when appropriate. These products change, and brokers need to keep up on their correspondence with lenders, so they can fit borrowers into the best possible deal. There is no question that charting a course through today's loan waters is more complicated than ever before. So, why not let your vendor work with you to make that trip as easy as possible? That is the kind of smooth sailing we are all looking for. Pamela St. Pierrre is an assistant vice president of the broker closing team at Integrated Loan Services. She can be contacted at (800) 842-8423 or by visiting the ILS Web site,
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